Fund to Expand the Roslindale Wetlands

Last year, I learned that an empty lot, in back of the house two doors down from me on Walter Street, was for sale. This parcel was mapped out in the late 1800s along with Morrison “Street,” a paper street that was never built, in what is now the Roslindale Wetlands. The previous owners had passed away and their descendants were selling.

For almost 20 years, I have been working with other neighbors through the Roslindale Wetlands Task Force and the Longfellow Area Neighborhood Association (LANA) to protect and restore this hidden gem of a natural area. I love its trees and birdsong and how a walk along the trail can calm the spirit. And, I appreciate how the wetland acts as a natural sponge to soak up rainwater from the whole neighborhood.

Many parcels have been added to the conservation area over the years due to abandonment and tax foreclosure. With this nearby parcel for sale, I saw an opportunity to further expand the urban wild and to provide a buffer against potential future development. The Roslindale Wetlands Task force is an unincorporated group and cannot purchase land. So, I made a leap of faith and tapped into a home equity line of credit to purchase the parcel individually, with the goal of transferring ownership to the city. The selling price was $6,500, plus about $1,000 in closing costs. There is a lien attached to the property that I expect will take about $500 to resolve, for a total outlay of about $8,000. I have begun a conversation with city staff about taking the steps to transfer ownership to the parks department.

This is an appeal to any of you willing to share the cost with me of adding one more patch to the wetlands quilt that is steadily being pieced together. Any funds you give will be used to pay back my line of credit. Some friends and neighbors who are familiar with the situation have already stepped up and given a total of $1,350, so we are off to a great start. Another $6,650 is needed to raise the full amount.

If we raise more than the goal, any surplus will be set aside for future wetlands-related expenses. Unfortunately, because I’m doing this as an individual and not a nonprofit organization, your gift will not be tax deductible. Even if the full amount is not raised, I will give the parcel to the city.

My work with the Roslindale Wetlands Task Force has taught me that, when our neighborhood comes together, we can make things happen.  This is a modest but strategically located little parcel—and every wetlands parcel saved is a step in the right direction. The community’s broad and indispensable participation over many years to preserve and restore the Roslindale Wetlands would be underscored by a community-funded campaign to add one more parcel to it.

Thank you for joining me as you are able.
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Deb Beatty Mel 
Boston, MA
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